Dorm Survival 101: Talk, Stock up, and Get out

Dorm Survival 101: Talk, Stock up, and Get out

Bed bugs, communal showers, and paper-thin walls. What’s not to love about college dorms?

If the mere idea of your future dorm existence sets your teeth on edge, you’ll love this post. Today we share basic survival skills and knowledge every freshman needs. We’ll cover the most common problems you’re likely to encounter and set you up with actionable advice on how to handle everything dorms can throw at you.

If you don’t take away anything else from this, remember three things. To survive college dorms, you’ll need to talk, stock up, and get out once in a while.

Talk to Prevent and Solve Problems

College is about meeting new people, gaining experience, and finding your place in life. If you’ve never shared a living space with anyone, having a roommate might turn into an unpleasant surprise. Living under the same roof with hundreds of strangers can turn into a nightmare. That’s why communication is vital.

Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers and set ground rules from the get-go. Here are some examples of essential topics you should discuss with your dorm mate:

  1. Room cleaning schedule, expectations, and your respective responsibilities. One of the best ways to organize your cleaning is to tackle the whole room on the same day, working together. It will be a fun bonding experience.
  2. Sharing snacks, clothing, and other items. If you don’t want your roommate to take your stuff without asking, explain it at the beginning of the term. You can also establish a shared pile for food and other things you can both use.
  3. Guests, parties, and noise policies. Talk about the rules for bringing other people into your room to keep from disturbing the other’s study sessions. 

If you don’t see eye to eye with your roommate, talk to your RA about the possibility of switching rooms. It’s best to you deal with this situation before it gets out of hand. Don’t let your resentment fester, or your confrontation might come to a head at the worst possible time, like during the finals week.

Stock up on Necessities to Be Ready for Everything

It’s great to live at home where you can beat your midnight munchies by a quick trip to the fridge. When your parents take care of all your needs, you don’t have to think ahead and account for any eventuality. However, in college, you are on your own with no one to remind you about necessities. That’s why it’s always a great idea to keep a generous stock of:

  1. Snacks you will need for intense study sessions. See the previous advice on setting up a communal snack pile and don’t forget to stock it up after midterms and finals.
  2. Toilet paper and other hygiene products. Depending on your dorm rules, you might need to provide your own toiletries, and running out of TP is never fun. Shower caddy and rubber slippers are a must for communal showers!
  3. Everything to do with laundry. You’ll need to learn how to take care of all your clothing and buy appropriate detergent and fabric softener, as well as a hamper and a laundry bag. The latter is a solid investment if you don’t want your underwear to litter the dorm halls. 

Scout the Campus to Find Peace

The first thing you’ll have to leave behind once you move into the dorms is privacy. You’ll never be alone whether your roommate is in or not. Someone will barge in without knocking to borrow a condom. Paper-thing walls will let you in on the specifics of your neighbor’s sex life, and you’ll be able to tell when someone breaks up by the change in the playlist blaring throughout the building. 

Living in the dorm room can quickly become overwhelming, exhausting, and utterly miserable. Introverts will suffer even more, but even the most outgoing first-year students can quickly go stir-crazy. To avoid cabin fever, go out on your own and research

  1. Little hidey-holes where you won’t meet anyone from your classes or your dorm. It can be a quiet corner of the library, a tiny coffee shop, or even a bookstore. The goal is to find a place where you can unwind and finally feel alone in your head and comfortable in your skin.
  2. Part-time job opportunities. It’s a chance for you to gain practical experience, make an extra buck, and get away from your dorm for a few hours several times a week. If you can find an opening on campus or with your school, you’ll probably have time to study and work at the same time.
  3. Places to meet new people. Even when your brain is full to bursting with new names and faces, don’t give up on networking. It’s always a good idea to have people outside of your usual circle to talk to. They can offer an escape from your dorm mate and classmates when they start getting on your nerves.
  4. Clothing shares and thrift stores. The former is the best by far, providing a chance to get rid of your old clothes and get new ones for free. If no swaps are present on campus, you can always start one and become a trend-setter.

Where are you on your way to surviving dorms? Do you have your own survival checklist? Share your hacks and tricks with fellow dorm dwellers!